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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Santa Barbara's pride: Queen of California missions

By Adam Pollock

November 21, 2008 | Santa Barbara, the American Riviera, is the venue of some o California's most exquisite landscape and interesting places to visit.

The beaches alone are worth enjoying. The city of Santa Barbara is home to the Santa Barbara Zoo, Stern's Wharf, State Street, and the Mission Santa Barbara . All of these sites are worth dedicating an afternoon to explore and experience, but the Mission Santa Barbara, also called Queen of the Missions, remains in a league of its own. It is an incredible piece of history and remains a popular tourist spot in Santa Barbara.

The Mission, which was founded on Dec. 4, 1786, is the oldest post Columbian structure in the area. The history is rich and mixes the stories of the colonial Spaniards and the local native people called the Chumash. The mission today still serves as an operational Catholic church that regularly holds Mass. The mission grounds also houses a homeless shelter and drug and alcohol facility. Although the mission has survived over 200 years it remains a constant prey to the hostile and volatile California wildfires.

This year is no different than ones from the past. The week of November 9, saw wildfires devastate the town of Montecito which borders Santa Barbara and is within 10 miles of the Old Mission.

Daniel Carrol, project technician, said, "The mission received no harm from the fire. The smoke and ash also was not an issue. The only glitch we saw was our power was shut off for two hours. The numbers of visitors to our homeless and drug and alcohol facilities remained steady." This historic landmark has fared another fire scare and has emerged virtually unaffected.

The Mission Santa Barbara has weathered two centuries of earthquakes and fires and even a tidal wave which reached the steps of the cathedral. Although minor damage has been attributed to these natural occurrences over the years one difficult fire season could reduce the historic structure to ruins. The Mission Santa Barbara is worth an afternoon

if you ever visit the Santa Barbara area . In fact, if you are ever near the coast between San Diego and San Francisco you can be within a short distance of any of California's historic 21 Missions .

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